Today marks the launch of Bunkbed Mishaps by Mark Russell, who is crowdfunding an anthology of the one-off absurdist cartoons he’s been drawing for years.
This is a somewhat new thing for Russell, who is best known within comics as the Eisner-winning writer of smart, satirical books like The Flintstones, Exit, Stage Left! The Snagglepuss Chronicles, Second Coming, and much more.
The project is live on Kickstarter now, and Russell made time ahead of the campaign launch to answer some quick questions about the book. You can find our chat below, along with some selections from Bunkbed Mishaps…enjoy!
INTERVIEW: Mark Russell talks BUNKBED MISHAPS
ZACK QUAINTANCE: So, tell me about your Kickstarter, when did you start drawing these cartoons?
MARK RUSSELL: This collection, while no means comprehensive, includes cartoons I’ve drawn over a span of about twenty-five years.
ZACK: What’s your relationship been to drawing throughout your life, have you always dabbled?
MARK: Yeah, like most people, I started drawing when I was a kid and, also like most people, I gave it up when I started worrying what people thought of me. But I kept coming back to it over the years and, to this day, I find that when I’m stuck somewhere, or not sure what else to do with myself, I can always pick up a pen and just start drawing something. And something usually tumbles out of that process that makes me wonder about myself.
ZACK: Feels like most comics Kickstarters use one of those equations (MOVIE + NOVEL = MY COMIC, etc.) to reel people in…do you have one of those for your book? And if not, what would it be?
MARK: I can’t imagine even beginning to come up with a catchy elevator pitch for this book. The cartoons are so unlike anything else I do, and God help me, so far from sounding like anything anyone would want to buy, that I’m reluctant to describe them at all.
ZACK: Are there any throughlines in your cartooning? From what I’ve seen you post on social media, I’d say they feel in keeping with some of the humor in your comics writing, but I’m not sure how to better articulate the sensibility…
MARK: The only thing my cartoons seem to have in common is their randomness. They’re completely unlike my comics or my prose writing. They only bear a passing resemblance to each other. I think, when all is said and done, they’re like snippets of conversation or ideas that don’t really make sense in any world but their own.
ZACK: Finally, would you mind showing a drawing or two from the book, and giving us a little bit of insight into them, or a backstory about where the ideas came from?
MARK: Sure. Here are a few of my cartoons.
Sometimes I’ll come up with a caption that I think is really compelling for some reason, but I know I’d NEVER put it in any of my comics or other writing, so I draw an image to go with it. Other times, it’s the other way around. I’ll wake up with an image in my head, or just by puttering around with a pen I’ll stumble on an image I think is worth putting a caption to.
Other than that, I have no clue as to where these ideas come from, which maybe makes them my purest art form. If by pure you mean damn near impossible to sell.
Bunkbed Mishaps is live on Kickstarter now.